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Tag Archive: Pregnancy Update

The baby is here!!

She’s here!!!!!!!

Kierstyn Michaela Paine.

Born 4-24-2020 in a very quick, unmedicated labor — the doctor and nurses almost didn’t make it to the room for the delivery.

7 lbs. 10 oz.

20 inches long. (She looks so big to us since we’ve gotten used to caring for Champ these past 4 weeks and he’s smaller than her!)

Daddy has had your first name picked out for years (it means “follower of Christ”). Your sisters wanted to make sure you had a K name with a unique spelling to continue on the Paine girl tradition.

Mommy picked out your middle name, because you are our miracle child. The baby the doctors said would never be conceived. The child we hoped for for many, many years. Truly, as your middle name means, “Who is like God?”

You are more loved, wanted, and waited for than you can even imagine. Welcome to our crazy, loud, adventurous, never boring family. 

My favorite 5!

I’m going to say right now that I’m pretty sure all the Red Raspberry Leaf tea, Evening Primrose Oil, and dates worked amazingly well considering my body started showing signs that labor was imminent at 38 weeks (I usually always go to 41-42 weeks!), the labor and delivery went so smoothly (I was only in hard labor for 2 hours!), and even though she had shoulder dystocia and pushing her out required my most Herculean effort ever (I’m thankful for an amazing doctor who had me flip over and maneuver my body while Kierstyn was halfway out in order to dislodge her arm!), I didn’t tear at all.

My recovery has gone so well and I can’t believe how great I feel. (But I promise I will take it very easy, even if I do feel so well!) I’m so grateful!

And thank you for ALL your prayers, support, and excitement!

P.S. For more photos, videos, and details on the birth, check out my Instagram Stories.

Life Update: Pregnancy (38 weeks), pictures from way back when, and hair-cutting

38 weeks — and it’s finally close enough for us to do the gender guessing game you all have been begging for. So, if you want to play along, leave a comment with your gender guess. I’ll be revealing the answer after the baby is born!

Highlights

I had another OB appointment and ultrasound on Thursday. Baby got another 8 out of 8 score and everything looks great! I’ve definitely dropped even more (though you can’t tell from my picture!) and I doubt I’ll drop anymore before the birth considering the pelvic pressure I’m experiencing!

Notable

I’m having more contractions this week — which I’m all, “Bring ‘em on!” Because it seems like all the contractions I have in the weeks leading up to the birth really have helped my births be so much faster and easier in the past.

I’m officially on Maternity Leave as of this weekend! The plan is for me to be on leave through the end of May.

I’ve never, ever had a Maternity Leave before (in fact, I’ve always been back to work within 24-36 hours of my births — something I do not recommend), so I’m not even sure how to do it, but I’m excited to have this opportunity to rest, recuperate, savor my babies, and just take time to recover slowly.

(In case you’re wondering, I’ll still be online a little bit — I’ll be around on instagram and I’ll be writing a few content posts on the blog each week. We also have quite a few content posts pre-scheduled — some from me and some that are guest posts. But the plan is for me to only work around 2 hours/day max — as I have time and energy — versus my usual 8+ hours/day.)

Okay, there’s my update for this week! What’s your gender guess? I can’t wait to hear — you’ve got a 50% chance of being right. 😉

By the way, a lot of people have been asking for pictures from previous pregnancies. I have almost zero of them because I rarely took photos back then and, if I did, I was rarely in them. But I did dig up this one from Kaitlynn’s pregnancy. I was 38 weeks here.

The girls learned how to cut Jesse’s hair this week — and ended up doing a GREAT job on it!

(Kathrynne — 2 1/2 — holding Kaitlynn when she was a brand-new baby.)

(Kathrynne — 4 1/2 — holding Silas the week he was born.)

Just shy of 11 years ago, I had a 4-year-old, 23-month-old, and a newborn. Jesse was just starting his law firm. I was working full-time from home. And life was overwhelming.

I loved being a mom, don’t get me wrong, but it was a LOT of work. Someone constantly needed me for something. I never got even close to enough sleep. I was hopelessly behind on laundry. There were always messes. And did I mention being tired?!

Fast forward to today when these three are now 15, almost 13, and almost 11 — and y’all, all those hard early years of motherhood have paid off in huge dividends.

These three need almost zero help from me… in fact, they are now the ones helping me! They’ve been doing a lot of the cooking, cleaning, and dishes + taking care of all their virtual schoolwork, changing diapers, feeding bottles, loving on Champ, and even staying up at night or getting up in the morning to take care of him so I can get enough sleep.

Not only are they huge helps and contributors to our family, but they are SO fun to hang out with! I can’t get enough of their sarcasm, humor, deep thoughts, great questions, and honest assessments of life.

Also, getting to watch your babes all grown up and taking care of another tiny human with such love and tenderness just might be one of the most rewarding things ever as a mom.

Mamas of littles: I know the days are long and the nights are short right now. It’s exhausting and you might sometimes wonder if it’s really worth all the effort and sacrifice.

I’m here to tell that it is EVERY BIT WORTH IT. Don’t give up!

Life Update: Pregnancy (week 37), Parenting in the Pandemic, and an update on Champ


37 weeks!! I know it probably sounds cliche but it’s true: I honestly can’t believe I’m full-term!!

Highlights

I got to have another ultrasound and baby again scored 8 out of 8 and everything looks great. We also ran labs again to check on my hemoglobin and it’s stayed stable — which is huge, amazing praise considering how much I’ve struggled with this in previous pregnancies.

I’m finally starting to feel really pregnant and I’m moving much slower and wanting to rest a lot more. That said, except for some evenings, I’m still not at the “get this baby out ASAP” stage, but I’m finally feeling like I am okay with having this baby soon.

(Up until a few days ago, I felt like there was too much else that needed to be in place before I was ready, so I couldn’t even think about the possibility of having a baby. I’ve started to feel much more ready the past two days. However, I usually go late, so I don’t ever expect that I’ll go early. I learned my lesson the hard way with my first pregnancy!!)

Notable

I’m having a bit of swelling in my legs/ankles. Up until this point, I hadn’t had almost any swelling, unless I was on my feet for at least 3-5 hours.

My doctor said since my blood pressure and other things look great, that she’s not worried about it. I am just trying to make sure to keep my feet up as much as I can, continue walking for 30 mins/day, and drinking lots of water. That seems to make a big difference!

I think baby has dropped quite a bit (even though you can’t really tell from this pic) because I’m having a lot less pain in my ribs/underneath my ribs, which has been so nice! And I still can’t believe that I’ve not had the horrible extreme heartburn I usually have. But I am very much looking forward to being able to eat a much more normal diet after baby gets here! 😉

Usually, the last 4-5 weeks of pregnancy drag on and on for me, but so far, it feels like time is pretty much flying by. I think having a little newborn to care for has definitely helped my days go by quickly! And it’s certainly meant that I’m not struggling to sleep… because when my head hits the pillow, I’m out!

Speaking of Champ (the sweet newborn we’re fostering), he gained 8 oz. in 9 days and is almost 6 pounds!!!! I am guessing he’s likely still smaller than this baby but I’m hoping he’ll catch up soon!

Since little Champ is still pretty much needing round-the-clock care/watching, we all take shifts. I typically go to bed early and then take the middle of the night shift and then go back to bed at 6:30 a.m. and sleep for a few hours.

Pretty much every morning when I wake up, I come out to the living room to see these two boys sitting like this. Silas loves caring for Champ and does such a good job with him!

A lot of you have asked for my thoughts on how we’re dealing with the Pandemic as parents. Every child is different and you know your kids best, so I’m only sharing how we are approaching things at our house…

Don’t dismiss your kids’ feelings. Feelings are not right or wrong and no one can tell you how you feel or don’t feel. It’s what you choose to do with those feelings that matters most. Give them space to talk about whatever it is they are feeling — anger, sadness, loneliness, grief, frustration, boredom.

Don’t preach sermons. I know it’s easy to want to use this as a way to teach valuable life lessons… but probably way more than sermons, your kids just need a listening ear and empathy. And trust me, your kids ARE going to learn many valuable lessons from this, but a listening ear goes a long way to help them feel seen, heard, and loved.

Don’t stress yourself out trying to get it all right. There is no manual on how to parent well through COVID-19. We’re all just doing the best we can do! When you feel overwhelmed or unsure how to handle a situation, it’s okay to acknowledge this and give yourself some grace. If you are a Christian, this is an amazing opportunity to cry out to the Lord for wisdom and direction for how to respond and love your kids well.

Do remember that you set the tone for your home. If you are extremely stressed and irritable, it’s going to trickle down to your kids and make them feel stressed and on edge. Make sure you’re not spreading yourself too thin so that you are completely zapped and exhausted.

Do relax some of your usual rules/standards. We are allowing a lot more sleeping in, PJ-wearing, screen time, and junk food eating than usual. Yes, I probably just lost some followers over admitting that, but I feel like a lot has been taken away from our kids right now and as long you’re doing your chores and school, I’m pretty chill about a lot of other things in this season.

Do look for the humor in everything. We’ve laughed so hard as a family in the last few weeks — over so many ridiculous things. Laughter has been such good medicine for us and we’ve sought to find the funny in the ordinary.

I’ve fallen in love more with my husband with the birth of each of our kids, but I never knew how much I’d fall in love with him watching him love on our little Champ.

Y’all, this man has loved this precious boy 100% as his own. He has spent hours holding him, talking to him, loving on him. And my heart has been in a puddle getting to observe it.

The best part? Getting to watch Champ cooing back at him, “talking” to him, and soaking up the love and nurture.

I don’t know what Champ’s future holds long term, but I do know that all of our lives will forever be richer because of the opportunity to get to love on him. He has expanded each of our hearts in the most profound and beautiful ways.

(Note: I know many of you aren’t in a season or place where you could become foster parents. I totally, totally get that. If that’s you, can I just encourage you to instead ask yourselves, “What can we do?” There are so many needs all around us, especially in the foster care system. Could you donate time, money, or resources? Could you offer to buy diapers or dinner for a family who is fostering? Or maybe to just send a text to say, “How are you really doing today?” The more I talk to other foster parents, the more I realize how the support of others — even through a simple text of support — can mean the world!)

Real talk: I’ve had many moments in the last few weeks when I’ve wondered if I have what it takes to mother five kids well — a teenager, an almost teenager, a pre-teen, a medically fragile newborn, and another newborn who is due in the next few weeks.

I know lots of moms have more kids and more complex situations, but I’m not other moms, I’m me. And I know my own limitations and struggles.

But over and over again, I keep hearing God’s quiet reassurances to me: “Have I not carried you in the past? Have I not been faithful to you in the past? I have called you to this and I will be faithful and carry you in this. I am trustworthy and you are in the center of my will. I can’t promise it will be easy; but I can promise that I am WITH you.”

When we look at our circumstances and surroundings, we can feel overwhelmed. But when we looked to Jesus, we have courage to be overcomers… because we don’t have to do this life on our own, in our own strength.

I don’t know what battles or mountains you’re facing today. I don’t know the burdens you’re bearing. I don’t know the heaviness weighing on you today.

But I do know this: you don’t have to do this alone. You don’t have to walk this by yourself. You can place your trust, your confidence, and your confidence in the One Who “will never, ever leave you or forsake you” and the One Who “goes with you to fight for you… and give you the victory.”

Thanks to @sincerelybykara and @hertrueworth for this timely graphic.

Life Update: Pregnancy (36 weeks), Champ’s progress, virtual schooling, at-home activities

36 weeks!!!!

Highlights

I switched to weekly OB visits and started weekly ultrasounds this week (I get to have ultrasounds each week until delivery to check on the baby’s health since I’m considered “advanced maternal age”.)

Baby is head down and scored 8 out of 8 on the tests and is looking so healthy. We’re so grateful!

(We laughed so hard at these ultrasound pics from this past week. Apparently, baby was feeling a little on the grumpy side. ;))

Also, we were excited that we were finally able to confirm that the gender from our 12-week DNA test was correct (baby was not cooperating at the 20-week ultrasound!) We can’t wait to announce the gender to everyone after the birth, but it has been so fun to keep it as our little family secret.

Notable

Overall, I’m feeling so good! I feel like God has poured extra measures of grace and energy on me in order to strengthen me to care for Champ and his medical needs and handle all the extra meetings and things involved with getting a long term foster placement + continue to run the business and be a wife and mom to our other three. It’s definitely meant that I haven’t been sitting around with nothing to do! 😉

 

We’re getting into more of a groove here with every 3 hour feedings and learning how to best take care of Champ. He’s been doing so much better with his feeds the last few days, so I’ve been able to train Jesse and the girls on how to do them and hand off a few feeds a day.

This has been such a gift because it means I’m back to getting 6-7 hours of sleep again (cumulatively)! I know things will change once we add a second newborn and nursing into the mix, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!

Pregnancy & COVID-19

There’s a lot up in the air when it comes to the birth due to COVID-19. The hospital rules are constantly changing and I don’t know what it will be like when the time actually comes.

It’s easy to give in to wondering things like: “Will I be birthing alone because partners aren’t allowed? OR Will our hospital be overrun with cases and it be unsafe for me to deliver there?”

I could list off a host of what if’s. But worrying about the future won’t help anything.

So instead, I’m committed to do all I can to stay as healthy as possible and just trust God for whatever the future holds for the birth. And I’m seeking to just savor each day and make the most of it.

Virtual School Update

The kids are all doing well with their virtual school and classes through their private schools right now. Their schools are for sure closed through April 24… we’re not sure beyond that and won’t know until later in the month.

While they miss their friends so much and miss many aspects of school, they also love that they get to see their classmates on Zoom almost every day and that they have more flexibility in their schedules.

In addition, I think they are enjoying the whole no dress code/school uniform thing (see Silas’ outfit from one day this past week above! I told him he’s allowed to wear PJ’s to “school” so long as he takes a shower when he gets up and puts on clean PJs!)

The kids have been doing all sorts of creative things to stay busy. Kaitlynn experimented with some nail designs on my nails this week — I love how they turned out!

One morning, they poured dish soap on the floor and pretended to have a “treadmill in the kitchen” — which quickly turned into all sorts of hilarious antics and provided a ton of comic relief. Best of all, the kitchen floor got well-mopped in the process. 🙂

I posted this on Instagram this past week and wanted to share it here, too:

Getting to see my kids love on this precious little boy we’re fostering has been one of the most beautiful things my mama heart has experienced to date.

They’ve willingly gotten up early or stayed up late to hold him so I could get some sleep. They’ve changed his diapers. They’ve comforted him when he is crying. They’ve rocked him to sleep, swaddled him, done his laundry, cleaned up spit up, and spoken so many words of life and love to him.

There are moments when I struggle with feeling overwhelmed by so many unknowns for his future and how these might affect everyone involved.

I can play out the unknowns and what if’s. I can worry about how things will impact these people I love so much. But that does nothing to help anyone… it only creates stress or unrest in my heart, which can trickle down to how I interact with those I love.

Instead of living in what if’s or worrying about unknowns, I want to live today well. I want to love the people right here under my roof well. I want to cherish these moments and memories. I want to speak words of life and love. I want to savor watching my kids make sacrifices to love well.

We aren’t given grace for tomorrow. If we knew what tomorrow and next month and next year would bring, it might be too much to carry. All we’re given is today, right now, this moment.

Let’s love well and live well…right where we are. There will be grace enough for tomorrow when it comes.

Life Update: Pregnancy (35 weeks) + baby boy got out of the NICU!

I’m 35 weeks pregnant this week — and we got to bring our precious baby boy that we’re fostering home from the NICU on Wednesday!!

All three kids have anxiously been waiting for two weeks to get to meet this very loved baby boy! They have willingly stayed home 24/7 to protect our home from germs, done the bulk of the laundry, cooking, and cleaning while I was taking care of this little guy at the NICU, and have talked incessantly about the day we would get to bring him to our house!

It brought tears to my eyes to see my husband and kids loving on this tiny boy whom I have fallen so in love with the past two and a half weeks. (See a video here.)

Welcome to our home, Champ. We already love you more than you can imagine. Our heart and hope is for you to have reunification with your mama, but we promise to love you, care for you, and advocate for you as long as we get to be your foster family.

(Note: We debated over what “internet name” to give this sweet guy and finally all decided on Champ. Because though he is little, he is so strong. And I kept finding myself reporting to people that he did this or that “like a champ”. I realized it was the perfect moniker for him online! Also, thank you for your understanding that there’s a lot we can’t share when it comes to photos and details. While everything in my mama heart wants to show the world how cute and amazing he is and how proud I am of how much progress he is making, protecting his privacy and story is much more important to us.)

Highlights:

It’s pretty surreal and special to get the opportunity to love on a tiny little newborn during the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Since I’m the only one who is trained to feed him right now (and he eats every 3 hours) and he’s still adjusting to being in a different bed/place after weeks in the NICU, my sleep has been a little on the short side this week.

However, God has been so faithful to carry me through — through the 24-hour stay with him at the hospital so the nurses could observe my care of him and make sure I was ready to bring him home, through a few relatively sleepless nights, and through so many meetings/appointments with various medical professionals about his long term medical needs.

I’m learning so much and feel like I add new words and terms to my vocabulary every day! Also, this whole having babies with older kids is just about the best.thing.ever!!! Jesse and the kids have done SO much this week and the transition has honestly felt so smooth and easy, thanks to them!

Notable:

I feel like my belly popped yet again this week and I outgrew more clothes! Baby has been SO active and seems very healthy.

I’m also having much more intense contractions — which is very common for me in the last month. I get to start weekly ultrasounds next week and I’m excited to get to see our little babe on the screen again! We’re also hoping maybe just maybe baby will cooperate and we’ll be able confirm the gender with the DNA test.

We have almost everything ready except we need to buy another car seat, finalize a few things for the birth, and pack the hospital bags. I also am hoping to get Champ all adjusted to sleeping in his bed in our room and need to get Jesse and Kathrynne trained on making bottles and feeding/caring for him. (We’re supposed to have a nurse come stay at our house to care for him during my birth, but I still want to have some backup!) I don’t expect to go early, so I should have time!

Life Update: Pregnancy (week 34), Fostering, Quarantining, & Kathrynne is home!


34 weeks! And what a week it’s been! Kathrynne getting stuck in Suriname because they closed the borders (gratefully, her group got on a special flight this past Monday —  see below), spending hours at the NICU taking care of the preemie we’re fostering, everything else in our life getting cancelled… it’s felt like a pretty unprecedented week!

Highlights

Pregnancy-wise, I’m doing well. I feel like baby had a growth spurt this week and I’ve popped even more. Very few clothes still fit and I feel pretty big, but I’m not at the totally miserable stage yet, so I’m grateful.

Getting comfortable while sitting and sleeping is becoming more of a challenge, but that’s to be expected when you’re in your final weeks of pregnancy! 😉

Notable

I’m thankful to not be experiencing much swelling yet. My face is definitely a lot puffier, but other than that, so long as I keep my feet up for part of the day, I’m usually good.

We’re hopefully bringing our NICU baby home soon, so I’ve spent some time this week making sure everything is in order for both babies — baby clothes are washed, diapers are stocked, a second bed is ordered, etc.

I also sat down and mapped out the bones of a feeding/sleeping/life routine today — since our little preemie is on an every three-hour feeding schedule and will most likely continue that once released from the hospital. We’re getting excited to think of being a family of 7 soon — but also trying to savor our last few days of being a family of just 5.

Cravings

I’m mostly only hungry in the mornings now. I’m usually famished for the first few hours of the day and then I’m not that hungry after lunch. I’m eating lots of apples/peanut butter and Raisin Bran/milk.

Oh and we found that vanilla ice cream before bed helps me to sleep better and not wake up with heartburn as often. I have no idea why, but hey, if it works, it works! 🤣I’m also eating dates every day and drinking red raspberry leaf tea to help prepare for labor.

Weight gain: 27 pounds

She’s home!!! After being gone for 11 days, getting stuck in Suriname due to the country completing closing their borders, and being told she might not be able to come home for 30 days… we got to witness God move some pretty huge mountains in a very short amount of time. (The government arranged a special flight out of Suriname for them and a handful of others who were trying to get back to the US!)

A huge thank you to the many who prayed, the school administration who worked tirelessly to get them home, & the government officials who bent over backwards to make this happen.

Also, we are so proud of this girl! She handled the whole thing like a champ and told me she decided to focus on the positive in it instead of dwelling on the what if’s or unknowns.

She came back stronger, more resilient, more independent (in a good way), more aware of the goodness and provision of God, and so incredibly humbled by how many hundreds (thousands?) of people were praying for her and their team to make it home safely.

Thank you all to the many, many, many of you who wrote, texted, and messaged to tell me you were praying. It has truly been a humbling experience to be the recipient of so much love and kindness this past week… especially when SO much else is going on in the world. We are blown away how deeply you care about our family.

And now we’re hunkered down at home for the next few weeks trying to stay as healthy as possible and keep our home as germ-free as possible since we’ll likely be welcoming a medically fragile babe into our home very, very soon.

(Interested in seeing the creative things my kids are finding to do each day while home 24/7 or want to follow along with our foster care journey? Be sure to follow my stories on Instagram. I usually post there multiple times per day every week day!)

Speaking of Instagram, I posted this earlier this week and thought this might encourage someone today:

This is what the last 8 days of my life have looked like. Sitting in the rocker in the NICU rocking this tiny preemie we’re fostering and praying. (Note: The mask is just one of the many precautions the nurses are having me take to keep me and baby as healthy as possible.)

I’m usually a go-getter, a very driven person, who will have 15 balls in the air I’m juggling at any given time. My brain isn’t good at slowing down and I typically find living life at 100 miles an hour (with short pit stops here and there) to be exhilarating and fulfilling.

But right now, this is my season to rock, hold, comfort, and speak words of life to this precious baby. And that is enough.

I look down at this bundle I’m holding and realize, this sweet child doesn’t know anything about the chaos or fear going on in the world. Baby just wants to eat, sleep, and be held. And as long as I’m holding this child, they are almost always completely relaxed in my arms, resting deeply and peacefully.

As I sit here, I think of so many of you who are struggling today. Some of you have written in and told me how you are facing scary unknowns, big financial setbacks, possible job loss, fear of the future, worry over immunocompromised loved ones, separation from those you love, and so much more. This virus is personally affecting each of us in big ways.

I just want to remind you — as I am reminding myself — to crawl up into Jesus’ lap and let Him hold you. He loves you more than you can ever imagine. And He will give you what you need for today.

There are a lot of unknowns in my future right now — as I am positive there are in yours. If I let myself start dwelling on them, I can begin to feel scared and stressed. But God hasn’t given me grace for tomorrow or next month. He is giving me grace for today and I can rest in that.

And so, I sit here and rock — trusting Jesus that He has my future, my NICU baby’s future (and all the possible medical issues and things with that far outside my control!) my 34-week in utero baby’s future, my other 3 kids’ futures, my husband’s future, the future of our business, my extended family’s future… in His hands.

I rest in that and rock on. ❤️